Blasphemer – “The Sixth Hour” (Candlelight Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Not to be confused with their UK namesakes, this Italian blackened death band have been a long running act in the underground since being founded in 1998 by guitarist Simone Brigo, touring Europe and US over the years, as well as playing many festivals. Themed on the last day of Jesus Christ, the path that led him from the Gethsemane to Golgotha, “The Sixth Hour” is Blasphemer’s 3rd full length album, and features an all new line up made up of veteran musicians that really cut the mustard across the 12 fiery tracks here, but equally bringing tons of hooks, dark melodies and superb arrangements giving their material an imperious and decadent sound mastered at the famous studio Hertz in Poland, known for its work with Behemoth, Decapitated and Vader! With a suffocating dark atmosphere, the blast beats on ‘Let him Be Crucified’ thunder out as the guitars whirr out catchy riffola and wail out evil melodic licks as Clod ‘The Ripper’ De Rosa’s (also a Milan tattoo artist and owner of The Spew Records) heavy drawls add even more ominousness on ‘Hail, King Of The Jews!’ especially on the chorus, where you can really feel the mockery, humiliation and undoubted pain as Davide Cazziol’s drum hammers literally sound like nails being driven into flesh! Rolling in even more dexterous (and murderous) guitar work on ‘Stabat Mater’, the stampeding drums brilliantly contrast the ghostly vocal echoes as the power of main riff is undeniable in its possession until the climatic finish. Keen to obviously show their wider capability is the acoustic guitar instrumental on ‘Blessed Are The Wombs That Never Bore’ before the savagery of ‘The Robe Of Mockery’ is unleashed like a legion marching and slashing along with some harmonious, yet wildly insane melodies from the relentless twin guitars including that of Nicolò Brambilla that finally lead up to the dark, melancholic ending. Thoroughly befitting its concept and backed by superb musicianship, “The Sixth Hour” vividly transposes into music the agony Christ felt in his last hours….